The last support beam from the south tower of the former World Trade Center was removed during a ceremony on May 30, 2002. © Spenscer Platt/Getty Images

The last support beam from the south tower of the former World Trade Center was removed during a ceremony on May 30, 2002. © Spenscer Platt/Getty Images

Memorial Day Weekend May 25, 2012

Dear Members and Supporters, Ten years ago today, we, the WTC rescue/recovery workers, police, fire, building trade union members and construction company personnel gathered on the floor of the “pit” in silence as the reality of the day crept into our consciousness. The Last Piece of Steel which provided the foundation for the south wall of WTC Tower 2 stood alone, the symbolic punctuation to perhaps the darkest period in this country’s history. As we worked the “Tully Road”, the last “fertile area” for recovery, we had exposed this column and for the longest time worked around it, a barometer of the dwindling hopes of additional recoveries.

How apropos that the steel was adorned with the same paint that was used to mark searched voids, so New Yorkish, a sacred graffiti expressing the heartfelt pain of the magnitude of the loss; PAPD 37, NYPD 23, FDNY 343 and CIVS 2427. When the ironworkers finally cut the column and placed it onto the flatbed truck, a hearse if you will, draped in purple and black bunting with the American Flag, we acknowledged each other with the same non-verbal nods, handshakes and hugs that became a WTC language that can’t be quantified or explained but like so many outgrowths of the attacks, it was pure.

After we parked the flatbed truck with its valuable cargo under the protection of the West St. parking garage, our emotions as twisted as the steel we removed, we began the silent walk towards the Steel Bridge. I have always prided myself on being a good investigator, aware and observant but because of our focus and the emotional investment in the Last Piece of Steel, we had not noticed that the Steel Bridge had been occupied by hundreds of sailors who were dressed in their Class A white uniforms. When we stepped onto the Steel Bridge to begin our ascent, they snapped to attention and with their right hands in unison whipped to a salute. The emotion at that moment was as strong as any we had felt during the recovery mission. It was so beautiful, this confluence of rescue/recovery workers and our military brothers and sisters, a passing of the baton if you will, from those who were attacked and began the fight back to those who were now mortally engaged in making sure this will never happen again.

God Bless my fellow rescue/recovery workers, their families and our true heroes the US Military. We are so proud of your service. Thank you America for pouring your hearts into our work with your gifts and prayers.

Be safe and thank a Veteran this weekend.
William Keegan
Founder/President H.E.A.R.T. 9/11

Help 7 families in Puerto Rico return to a safe "Home for the Holiday". $5,000 puts a family back in their home for the Holidays.